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Odds Favor Niners Drafting A Quarterback at No.3 Overall

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Odds Favor Niners Drafting A Quarterback at No.3 Overall
The San Francisco 49ers on January 03, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

San Francisco 49ers are in prime position to draft a quarterback in the first round with the newly acquired No.3 pick. Odds favor the Niners drafting a quarterback third overall, but which quarterback has the best odds to go in that spot. Moreover, do the markets have it right?

The San Francisco 49ers have snapped up the No.3 draft pick in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins. The trade involved parting ways with a ransom of picks – three first round picks and a third round pick – just to get to the third overall selection in the fast approaching 2021 NFL Draft. The sheer boldness of the move, the undisguised assertiveness of the trade, to come up in the draft according to many NFL insiders must mean one thing, and one thing only — that is: the 49ers are eyeing one of the coveted quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.

If that is the case, which quarterback might that be?

To answer the passing question, we look at the NFL odds currently trading for the 2021 draft to examine how the markets speculate the Niners’ much anticipated selection will go.

Odds Markets Shed Light On Potential Moves To Spot In The Draft

Clemson Tigers’ Trevor Lawrence is practically wearing a Jacksonville Jaguars’ jersey already. Lawrence has been the presumptive favorite to go first overall in the 2021 draft across multiple sports betting platforms ever since markets opened for the annual catwalk of budding college ballers looking to fulfill their boyhood dreams of playing in the NFL

NFL 2021 Draft: First Pick of 2021 Draft Odds

Trevor Lawrence -10000
Zach Wilson +1200
Justin Fields +2000
Penei Sewell +3300
Odds courtesy of BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

The New York Jets were long suspected to go with a quarterback at the No.2 position, but not until they officially announced Sam Darnold’s trade to the Carolina Panthers did that suspicion gain credence amongst experts, pundits and bettors alike.

The name that seems to practically leap off the page – and the NFL odds board – right now is BYU’s Zach Wilson. As per BetOnline, Wilson is a runaway fave to go second overall at -2500. Well ahead of the highly touted Ohio State product Justin Fields, who is priced at +850, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, who is trading at +1600 at the start of this week’s round of betting (beginning on Monday, April 13, 2021).

NFL 2021 Draft: Second Pick Overall Odds Courtesy

Zach Wilson -2500
Justin Fields +850
Trey Lance +1600
Penei Sewell +3300
Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Teams typically won’t give up the kind of capital that the San Francisco 49ers gave up unless they’re looking at an elite passer – a potential franchise quarterback that has championship pedigree written all over him. Put it this way: if the Niners don’t take a quarterback, it’ll send seismic shockwaves through NFL betting communities because everyone is practically putting down good money on a number of quarterbacks shortlisted to go third overall.

If the NFL draft odds were any indication, Alabama Crimson Tide’s Mac Jones is the favorite to be snapped up by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. However, Buckeyes’ passer Justin Fields isn’t too far behind in the betting as the tempting second best bet at +120.

NFL 2021 Draft: 3rd Pick Overall Odds

Mac Jones -175
Justin FIelds +120
Trey Lance +350
Zach Wilson +2000
Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Justin Fields from Ohio State
Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

The Niners are an elite team that only a couple of years ago made a Super Bowl appearance. A devasting slew of injuries upended their ensuing 2020 campaign, decimating Shanahan’s prized roster in all facets of the game — from the offense to defense and special teams, no area of the game was spared by the injury bug.

And yet, inasmuch as the Niners were the epitome of the walking wounded in 2020, who at several points in the season fielded a third-string quarterback along with players that hadn’t even featured in Super Bowl 54, much of the criticism levied at them seemed to hone in on one specific area: the passing game. To be more specific, Jimmy Garoppolo’s play – limited though it was due to injury – was put under the microscope and found wanting. He was the weakest link in an otherwise top caliber team, so said his detractors.

The argument stems from several areas of concern. Firstly, Garoppolo’s long list of injuries during his short-lived NFL career. In three years with the Niners, he’s missed 23 games due to either ankle or knee injuries. Secondly, when he’s healthy, he’s considered to be merely a good system quarterback, a steady hand that runs the offense to Shanahan’s schematic specifications adequately. He’s not blowing anyone’s socks off, and that alone is a backhanded inditement of his overall talent and quality.

Mac Jones #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up prior the College Football Playoff National Championship game. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Mac Jones Or Justin Fields A Better Fit?

It’s impossible to know which way the Niners are going to go. But if we take the drafts market at face value, the Niners’ options seem to whittle down to a choice between Mac Jones or Justin Fields, with the former emerging as the slight fave over the latter. However, contrary to these markets, there’s a growing argument for the Niners to go with Fields rather than Jones.

The debate rests on the question whether the Crimson Tide passer is merely a product of the sum total of the talent he’s been surrounded with in Alabama. If that is the case, the argument follows that Jones might not therefore be much of an upgrade. He would fit nicely into Shanahan’s scheme, but the offense would be pretty much the same as its been over the last few years with the exception of the fresh-faced young gun at the helm

Whereas Fields is a raw talent with wide-ranging abilities and athleticism that would make San Francisco’s offense dynamic, unlike it has ever been before. The possibilities would be endless for Shanahan, giving him license to be more creative with his offensive schemes and plays if he had a dual-threat quarterback such as Fields at its core. The question though is whether the Niners would be so bold to go with Fields instead of Jones as the betting odds would indicate.

Of course, all this presupposes that the first two picks fall in line with sportsbook projections and Lawrence and Wilson come off the board in succession. Should the Jaguars or Jets or both go against the grain, it’s anybody’s guess which way the quarterbacks will fall in the 2021 NFL draft.